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Make Your Own: Infused Oils

September 8th, 2010

Along with using plantain as a quick treatment for bug bites and other wounds, I’m also trying to make some plantain essential oil so I can make a beeswax salve to carry with me. Then when I’m out and about I can still have access to it’s therapeutic benefits. I decided I would try to make some plantain essential oil here at home instead of purchasing it, so I read a few articles on making essential oils at home. These are different than distilled oils that you buy which are much more concentrated. Since I don’t have a home still, so I’ll be making oils that are infused with herbs not the distilled essential oils.

I read a few articles and each had different methods of making essential oils, different amounts of herbs were used in each recipe. I made mine by using a combination of all the recipes I read. I didn’t want to make a whole cup of oil as I thought I wouldn’t be able to use it up quickly, so I made a half cup. I simply chopped up 3 Tablespoons of fresh plantain and put them in a small jar and topped it with 1/2 cup of good organic olive oil (you can use other types of oil if you’d like, I happen to always have olive oil on hand).

Some recipes called for the heating of the oil and herbs, some simply called for steeping for a few days in a warm spot then removing the spent herbs and adding fresh herbs every couple days. I’m opting for this non-heating method. I’ve been steeping the herbs on my kitchen windowsill and will be refreshing the herbs a few times until the oil smells strongly of plantain. If the weather gets too cold, I may warm the oil occasionally is a pan of water, but only until slightly warm, not too much heat as I’m thinking this may damage some of the benefits of the herbs.

When it’s finished I plan on putting it in an amber bottle with an eye dropper. This winter I’ll experiment in making salves with beeswax that I’ll be able to carry around in a little tin, I’ll be sure to blog about it when I do. I’m also looking forward to making more essential oils, I bought a tea tree plant this spring and I’m hoping to make tea tree oil next, as we use a lot of tea tree oil here at Chiot’s Run.

Have you ever made essential oils at home? Do you use essential oils often?

Quick Herbal Bug Bite Salve

September 7th, 2010

Several years ago I read about the wonders of Broad Leaved Plantain, a “weed” that grows everywhere. It’s also known as: Bird’s Meat, Common Plantain, Great Plantain, Rat-tail Plantain, White Man’s Foot.

I have it growing all over the garden and I’m quite happy about it. It comes in very handy when I’m out working late and get bit by mosquitoes or if I get stung by a bee.

All you have to do for a quick salve is grab a leaf or two, chew them up and apply them to the bug bite. I often do this while I’m out working if I need to, but I prefer to make a poultice with some baking soda as it stays on better and I think it works better. (as with all wild plants, make sure you know exactly what you’re picking & using!)

What I usually do is take a few leaves, cut them finely, add a pinch or two of baking soda and a little water. Then I grind them to a wet paste in my mortar & pestle and apply to the bug bite. It instantly works to get rid of the itch or sting and keeps it coming back.

This salve is also very beneficial for using on cuts and scrapes, I often add some turmeric and comfrey when I’m using it for this purpose as turmeric helps with inflammation and pain and comfrey speeds healing.

Plantain has medicinal uses of all sorts: bites, cuts, scrapes, rashes, skin problems, intestinal pain & issues, worms, boils, bronchitis, coughs, colitis, hemorrhoids, diarrhea, dysentery, vomiting, bed wetting and incontinence and many other things (for more info read this and this). I have yet to use it internally, but I use it often for bug bites, stings and cuts. I’m trying to make plantain oil for using medicinally. Since it’s an herb with no known side-effects I definitely want to try using it more often.

Have you ever used plantain? Do you use herbs/weeds for medicinal purposes?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.